Burgess pg 11 1-3-19

Woodstock Academy softball coach Jay Gerum remembered the first time he saw Hannah Burgess play.
It was in Little League about a decade ago.
“I was trying to watch the Little Leagues and trying to figure out what they were doing and get an idea. No one was really playing travel ball around here much and some of the things that you have to do to get really good at softball weren’t happening around here,” Gerum said.
Gerum got into a conversation with Hannah’s father, Paul, about slap hitting.
It’s one of Gerum’s passions about the game, but not every player or parent is amicable toward it.
“It’s a different type of hitting and most dads want their kids to swing the bat right-handed and be a power hitter,” Gerum said.
Judging by what happened this past week at Woodstock Academy, slap hitting should be taken a little more seriously.
Hannah Burgess used that talent to catch the eye of college coaches and Dec. 13, in a dream come true moment for the Centaurs All-State shortstop, she signed a Letter of Commitment to play Division I softball for Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.
“It felt amazing. I’ve been working toward this for the past four years and it’s always been my dream to play Division I softball. It’s just so exciting,” Burgess said.
What caught Gerum’s eye about Hannah Burgess was her athleticism and both her and her father’s willingness to experiment.
“Both Hannah and Paul were willing to try it and our friendship grew from there,” Gerum said.
Gerum recommended travel teams and hitting coaches.
Hannah Burgess played for the Rhode Island Thunder travel team in winter ball where she piqued the interest of Neil Swanchak who coaches the Connecticut Charmers Gold travel team.
She played second base and outfield for the Charmers, traveled to tournaments across the country and began to get collegiate offers.
“You need to understand that if you want to play Division I, you have to sacrifice a lot of things,” Swanchak said. “You have to dedicate yourself to your academics. You have to be willing to give up certain things, maybe your friends, maybe going to the beach. Nobody sacrificed more than Hannah did. This is her dream.”
Colgate University was the first school where she attended a softball clinic and she never forgot it.
“I love the atmosphere of the team and I love (head coach) Marissa (Lamison-Myers) and (assistant coach) Amanda (Fazio), they are really great coaches,” Burgess said of the choice.
She becomes the second player from the Centaurs softball program in the last three years to get a chance to play Division I softball.
Rylee Hehir plays for St. Bonaventure.
“We’re not in a very populated area and you don’t have as many kids willing to put the time and the money and make the sacrifices necessary to play D-I,” Woodstock Academy softball coach Jay Gerum said.
“For us to have two in three years — they played on the same team together — it’s a testament to their hard work. It’s a great choice for Hannah.”
Burgess hit .551 with 23 RBIs and 22 stolen bases for the Centaurs last season.
Now, she gets to look forward to a senior softball season without the pressure of trying to impress at the next level.
“It’s definitely a relief, but now it’s all about getting ready to play at the next level. I have to keep putting in the same hard work, getting stronger, getting faster,” Burgess said.

Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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